Other things to do with miniature horses

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mdegner

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A good friend of ours took his 5 year old mare with him hunting for elk in the Rockies recently and had a great experience with her. We sold him Melly a few years ago, and she has been in his pocket ever since. Jim describes her as the "dog he has always wanted" LOL. Anyway, he worked with her to get used to gunfire and had a special harness and saddle bags made to fit her body. The outfitters laughed at him and said there was no way she would be able to handle it, but they ended up eating crow. She LOVED it and was just a trooper. Due to where they dropped the elk, the big Shire gelding that came with couldn't get to the spot but Melly could and they loaded her up three times so as not to overload her. He said she was very nimble on the steep sloap and after initially balking at going over a ridge, she was eager to go.

Just had to share this as I found it really amazing. Pictures on my Facebook page below (I don't know how to post here).

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.497514880268492.120281.100000299539018&type=1
 

ksoomekh

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I love this story. I live in NM where elk hunting is a big deal. My dear friend, Edwin, teased me when I purchased 38" Pepper last month saying we could use him to pack out elk. I can't wait to tell him about Melly!!!!!

I couldn't view the FB link : - (

Karen
 
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targetsmom

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I wonder if you have to have a FB account. I saw this on FB and LOVED it. Maybe it needs to be set to "public"???
 

ksoomekh

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I LOVE the photos!!!!!!! I can't wait to show my hunting friends!

Karen
 

mdegner

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OK guys, I went and made the pictures Public. Try the links now.....

Sorry, I shouldn't be this technically challenged....LOL
 

rubyviewminis

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OMG! You won't believe this, my husband and his hunting partner just got back from Elk hunting. In the process his buddy told him,"Here we are, two old farts huffing and puffing to pack out this elk, and you have three little hay burners at home we could have brought to do this for us!" My husband laughed and said it would have taken three trips with all three. They both know that the minis are desensitized to everything including guns. The day before they were griping and complaining about remembering to take their old man meds, and waking each other up to go pee in the night three or four times. Had me laughing at them.

My husband just saw this and the pictures and absolutely thought it was so cool! I friended you so I could share the facebook page with his hunting partner, they would love it! Thank you so much for the story and pictures, that little mini is priceless! My favorite part is What Can A Mini Do? I get asked that all the time.
 

Shari

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That is cool!

Mini's can do so many things.... packing like your friend does. Maggie has a sawbuck and panniers, helps me a lot with that. She has also been trained to cart and does scaled down draft work.
 

Sue_C.

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You can buy a proper pack saddle to fit a miniature as well...that would enable them to pack even more, as it would help balance the load better, and keep an even pressure of the back.
 

CZP1

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Very cool! Another great reason to own a mini. Thank you for sharing!
 

mdegner

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Thanks everybody, I love hearing the feedback. Becky, you had me in stitches with your description of your hubby and his hunting partner. Similar to conversations around here. I think they need to get those "hay burners" ready for next year, LOL. Sue, I think he will be getting a regular saddle pack for future trips. It was kind of a last minute thing and he called us to see if we had any kind of saddle bags for a mini (which we didn't). He found a gal in Colorado who made these for dogs and she was able to quickly modify to fit Melly.

Melly is an unusually friendly horse, always was. She thinks she's a dog and follows Jim around to "help" him by removing pliers from his back pocket and the like. Always does my heart warm when one of your horses finds a great life, and a great job!
 
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I love this thread! For 10 years I have trained my various minis to a custom pack saddle I made. I wish my smartphone would upload a pic but it won't darn it!! I am a show driver but train all my minis under saddle in case they don't make it into show homes. Gymkhana is big on the west coast. During the process of training under saddle and my love of hiking and trail running with my minis I had an epiphany!

Why not customize my pony saddle into a pack saddle? I thought the mini could carry: a retractable fishing pole, first aid for all of us,tp:), climbers rope for whatever, raingear, extra clothing, lunch, water, camera, notepad and pen for ICE, construction ribbon for marking unknown trails, maps, folding saw, duct tape, flashlight, knife and ??

I stripped the saddle to its ralide tree. Added breastcollar and breeching and a back cinch. Added saddle bags and lots of Drings and saddle strings. This pack set up has been amazing! I have tested it on steep terrain and jumping over logs. It has never moved a bit! None of my minis have had any rubs or sores. No soreness the next day. I love MY pack saddle. Get tons of compliments on this.

I am working on another "daypack" style made from a cutdown pony bareback pad. Have not tested this one yet. It has a breastplate and breeching too. Strings and a dog pack...

I just found a mini pack sawbuck on ebay. Maker lives in Roseburg OR. That looked interesting.

My husband is a Elk hunter. For years I keep telling him that a mini could help bring Elk out..

Thank you for sharing the FB link!! My hubby LOVED it! Now my awesome In hand winning mini who doesnt like driving might get to go on a hunting trip.

BIG SNAPS from southern Oregon!!!!!

I also have a FB page and will be posting a pic of my prototype pack saddle soon. Have made 3 others since. I don't know how to post the link so PM me and I will send attachement if anyone is intetested??
 

rubyviewminis

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Isn't it amazing the things so many of us have in common? I am definitely going to save for a pack saddle, love those posted links to ebay, thank you!

In the process of ground training, desensitizing, and general *lets see what I can hang on them next* thoughts, I have tied, chained, snapped etc. so many things onto the minis using various items from our big horses lol. And I showed my hubby a pic of the trial pack from Ozark Minis we were thinking of getting. Mmmm, wonder how hard it would be to downsize the old, beat up, panniards we have?

We shared that link and pics with others and they loved it too!
 
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I forgot to add that I bought a packers hanging scale. I put a rope through the fork of the saddle around the horn and then hook it for weighing. My packs top 28-34 pounds. My minis are 31.50-36.50.

The weight doesnt seem to bother any of them. I also put a slow feeder hay bag with certified weed free hay in it. I cover this with a hefty bag and tye it on the saddle. Also take a collapsible dog water bucket. When we have lunch so do they. This all seems to work great so far. The old pony saddle tree Im using seems to work on all these different sized minis.
 

mdegner

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DJF, you have it figured out! If you haven't already done so, please friends me on Facebook (Mary Elizabeth Wilson) as I would love to see what you have and share with Melly's human. LOL

Pleasantly surprised by the responses here. LaVern told me that she also knows folks who use minis to pull deer and other animals out of the badlands.
 
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I have wondered if a custom sled made to haul quartered elk could work? Have heavy breastplate made and cable or chain traces that hook onto the sled? Just a thought after seeing a friends elk hunting cart with wheels. Oh wheels! That would be easier huh..LOL!!
 

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